letters | f/family #atozchallenge

letters | a to z | what sandra thinks

Dear Family,

I’ve been wanting to write this to you for a long time, but I didn’t have the courage to send it so what would be the point? I still don’t think I have the courage, so if you’re reading this, I’m not sure how I managed to get it to you.

I don’t know exactly what you think of me. I don’t know what you think I feel… who you think I am. But I have thought for so long that you should know… because I’d be willing to bet it’s not what you think.

This is not me being upset that you don’t understand me. I don’t expect you to understand. And unless you’re me, you won’t… you couldn’t. That’s why I wanted to write this—so you would have an idea what my life is like. Just telling you that I’ve been ‘sad and anxious’ every once in a while doesn’t begin to touch my reality.

When I wake up each morning, my thoughts aren’t about what I’m going to do today. They’re about how I’m going to make it through the day… because I never think I’m going to. I make lists in my head and on paper of things to do. I have no shortage of things to add to those lists. But I do none of them. I’m not lazy, I’m incapable. Okay, maybe I am lazy… but why I’m lazy is the issue. I have no drive… no motivation. My head just keeps repeating, ‘what’s the point?

It’s difficult to explain how hard it is for me to simply ‘do stuff’. I see how productive people are and I’m envious. Then I see myself. Doing the tiniest thing is like moving a mountain. Many days, even getting out of bed feels impossible. With what’s going on in the world right now, people have more time to do things. And they do them. People have accomplished more in a month than I have in years. I’m ‘lucky‘ I always have time due to my lack of job, yet I incapable of using that time to my advantage. I feel like such a failure. And I’m always thinking, ‘What the hell is wrong with me?‘… even though I know.

My NP tells me that I should recognize the things that I do accomplish. But they’re not like other peoples’ accomplishments. They’re things like getting out of bed, making myself breakfast, doing the dishes, cooking dinner… you get the idea. Basic things that most people do without a thought. For me, though, they are huge. But when I do them, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything because ‘normal’ people do these things without a second thought. ‘Normal’ people do far more. Some days, I can’t bear knowing that. It makes me feel weak and pathetic… which is what I think I am.


When I hear about people’s daily life—what they’re doing, what they’ve accomplished, I think about my life and I fall apart because my life is so empty. I don’t mean with respect to my family. I know people love me. What I mean is inside me. I’m not confident. I never have been. I don’t like myself. My mind is always drawn to the bad. I usually only see the good if someone points it out to me. I don’t see it on my own. I need my own personal cheerleader sitting on my shoulder at all times.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I just wish you knew how my world is… how it feels… so you won’t think I’m just lazy or making excuses. I want to explain why ‘cheer up’ and ‘snap out of it’ or ‘just do [fill in the blank]’ are not simple for me. It’s so much deeper than anyone outside of my own head can truly understand.

My days are like this: force myself to get out of bed, straighten up kitchen, have some panic with my breakfast, possibly go back to sleep, force myself (and it’s hard) to shower and get ready (and many days, cry in the shower because I can’t let the kids see that), try to do things—any things—so my day doesn’t feel empty and wasted, panic some more, fail at doing things [or on the rare occasion, maybe do some little things, but thinking ‘what’s the point?’ the entire time], get my ass to the kitchen to make dinner, eat, clean up, watch tv, feel that my day was empty and wasted, and fall asleep hoping I can make it through tomorrow.

I don’t expect that you knew it was like this for me. How could you? Even after reading this, no one can really get it without living it. No one can feel the pain I have to somehow get through every single day. And speaking of pain, I didn’t even touch upon the constant back pain that’s thrown on top of all of this. It’s horrible. It’s devastating.

I have panic attacks several times a week. Some are really bad. Others are mild by comparison [if there is such a thing as a mild panic attack… sounds like an oxymoron to me].

I make jokes about this… about myself… even though it’s serious because humor is one of the ways I try to deal with things. Sometimes it helps.

There’s only so much medication can do. It’s not a cure. There is no cure. That is maybe most devastating of all. It’s hard to be hopeful. It’s hard to feel happy. I had an amazing childhood. Wonderful parents made it fun, happy, memorable. I don’t know exactly when my brain went to hell, but it’s been there for years. A lot of years. More than half of my life.

I don’t blame anyone but myself. I tend to think I brought this on because of my many poor life choices. But the truth is that it is an illness, like any other, only this one doesn’t have obvious external symptoms… it has painful internal ones. And it has no cure.

I’m not looking for pity. Just know that when I say, ‘it’s hard for me to [fill in the blank],’ it truly is. Everything, usually except eat and sleep, is hard for me. Writing this was hard for me. Sharing it is even harder.


p.s. — I don’t like the thought of anyone feeling like they have to walk on eggshells around me or not share things with me because they might make me feel sad. That actually makes me feel worse. I guess just know that sometimes it’s hard for me to hear some things, but it’s not your fault… It’s mine.

p.p.s. — To my readers: I have never shared this with my family and I probably never will.


©2020 what sandra thinks

About what sandra thinks

Sandra is a writer, sometimes blogger, poet, artist, emotional disaster. She thinks far too much and sleeps far too little. Sandra lives in the Northeastern U.S. but dreams of an oceanfront home in Italy, but she would settle for a non-oceanfront home in Italy. She loves books, brutal honesty, coffee, and the color black. She hates insincerity, beer, whipped cream, and facebook. And she is uncomfortable talking about herself in the third person.
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54 Responses to letters | f/family #atozchallenge

  1. Hey you!
    Firstly, i am so sorry that you feel all this. I understand it sucks.
    I wont be guiding you to cheer up..life goes on..no!!
    I know how it hurts..the pain.
    But trust me if you got this far, you will make through it definitely. Its aint about anything but your willpower..you aint that weak that you think of yourself. To us, you are amazing! I am sure you are an amazing soul,.what not.

    Try seeking a therapist’s help, if you may. Talk to people. Talk to people who care.
    I wish nothing but happiness to you.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I often think about seeing a therapist, but I end up tossing that idea out the window. I’ve done it before and it has never helped. Sure, maybe it wasn’t the right therapist, but I don’t know how to find the right one. And there’s that matter of money. I have insurance but I have no job so just the co-payments are really too much for me to afford.

      I have a friend who I probably lean on too much, but she’s not always available. No one would be… not even a professional. It’s like I need a constant companion… and that’s never going to happen.

      Anyway, thank you for your thoughts. Even with people around me, feeling like this is so lonely.


      • Maybe we can deal with it through some natural ways? Conscious mind about living in the present often helps. I understand you may be dealing with a lot. But as a concerned friend, i would suggest to take care of your thoughts. Our thoughts are the only drama in our life.

        Still, you should definitely seek help. Dont let thoughts clutter your mind. You crested your thoughts, not did they create you. So take a deep breath and hang on. You aint alone.
        You shall overcome this, love.:)

        Liked by 1 person

        • It really sucks that my biggest issue is motivating myself to do things because it makes it pretty much impossible for me to even do simple things to help myself feel better. Forget trying to do things like reorganize the closet or other stuff like that… I can’t even find the motivation to do some simple breathing exercises or stretches or anything. Honestly, I’m amazed I’ve been able to do this challenge. Then again, I’m only on F and I’m ready to quit.


  2. The pain never really goes away… does it?
    I’m so glad that you posted this. You are so so brave for sharing this!! You may not think much, but it truly is. SO many people struggle to talk/write about what they are actually feeling without providing any filter.
    Sending you lots of hugs, chocolates and images of them men.
    Dream ❤

    p.s- my valiant soul is right.
    Maybe it wasn't the right therapist but aren't there therapists that do it for low costs or have like the first couple of sessions free..?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t feel brave at all. But I’m sure that’s not surprising to you…

      To my knowledge (and I know quite a lot on this topic), there are no therapists that do anything for lower cost or free. Maybe somewhere but not around here. Besides, since I have insurance, they’re not going to give me a break on the copayment. Plus, I do not have the drive nor the desire to see a hundred more therapists in hopes that I find the right one.

      I’ve seen a total of 9 therapists in my life. Young, old, somewhere in the middle, male, female. Some I saw for months, more than half I saw for years. It was all a huge waste of time and money. The last one was not all that long ago. None of it ever helped. Another therapist… same result. I don’t think I can put myself through that again. Besides, what’s the point? There’s no cure. I’ve been through all of the different kinds of therapy I’ve heard about and… nothing. I don’t think I can be helped. I guess that’s why I wish I could tell my family what it’s really like for me — because I know it’ll never change.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand.
        You are tired of the pattern, the same cycle day in and day out with none to little breathing space.
        Maybe try altering your schedule, you don’t have to try new things but maybe just push one thing ahead or back. Baby steps and then if you want to you can try something new. Gardening, Colouring, anything really!

        And maybe with your family try a different approach as in say exactly what you think you should say but differently…? I dont even know if i make sense right now.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s especially hard right now with all that’s going on… with the kids home all the time feeling just as bored as I do. I don’t feel like I have much of a routine at this point, so I’m not sure what to change. Maybe I need to get myself into a routine. Lately, I’ve been sleeping too late and just being bored. I’m so unmotivated to do anything even though I’ve got tons of time right now… more than before this shutdown even though I’m unemployed anyway.

          I *so* wish I was someone who enjoyed gardening. My mom is amazing with that and I wish I’d inherited that from her.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I can see why you took so long in getting this post right Sandra, and you did a great job. It must have hurt and it must be painful to lay it out so openly and truthfully. I know that there are many of us who hurt alongside you, but we can never take your pain away. I know you do not seek sympathy. It doesn’t help. I do, as always, offer hugs (at correct social distancing), and hope that things will get better and you will learn to love yourself with the confidence that you are a lovely person of worth. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish I had finished writing this last night instead of today because it made me visibly upset and, of course, the kids are home. But I was just too tired last night. I couldn’t do it.

      I think I’ve been through it all… all kinds of therapy, medication, exercise, relaxation techniques… and nothing ever changes. I really don’t think I can be helped. I really don’t think anything will ever change for me. My life now is just trying to get through each day because I have to… not because I want to.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know, and there is nothing that I can do even though I would desperately love to help. I do believe things will change for you. I don’t know how, or when, or by what means, and it has nothing to do with religion (which I don’t have), or any conventional therapy. I just feel that you will come through it all. May it be soon. xx

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol Anne says:

    Sandra, I get it. I really do. I think it took tremendous courage to lay this all out here. I know it isn’t easy and telling your readers was a brave thing to do. I wish you could tell your family too. I read through the comments and it saddens me to think you think you cant be helped. I’m sure you can. There is always hope. Have faith, stay strong, your honesty and bravery are a testament to the type of person you are inside. xoxoxo ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts. ♥ It’s hard for me to agree with the brave part, but thank you.

      While I do wonder how my family would receive this, I don’t know that I’m willing to find out. It is really just my mom and two sisters. (My father passed away and my third sister doesn’t speak to me.) My husband already knows this, for the most part, but he is not helpful at all. That’s another story.

      Anyway… I have been living like this for a long time. I’ve tried to get help, but I’ve gotten nowhere. I don’t know where to go anymore so I’m at kind of a giving-up point. It’s hard to have hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sandra …. I started a long diatribe about the utter meaninglessness of life and of my own belief that doing the dishes (an overwhelming prospect some days!) is no more or less important than finding a cure for cancer and my own feelings of personal pointlessness and irreverence …..
    But it wouldn’t be helpful.
    Be assured, however, that you are far far from alone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Not sure if I can sensibly explain, or even understand, how much this comment made me feel somehow understood and comforted. Especially considering how alone I feel. Thank you for that.


      • Well … far too much is made of being sensible ….. and the same could be said for explaining things. The human condition seems to compel us to find explanations for everything, yet true beauty is to be found most frequently in that which remains unexplained.
        And …. I meant to describe myself as ‘irrelevant’ in my previous response but the spell checker decided to change it to ‘irreverent’, which seems a nicer way to put it.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. M says:

    This one must have been hard for you. No wonder you had to take a little extra time to get it completed but it is superb. I love how in every letter, you bare your truth which is hard to do. Kudos to you on that. On a lighter note, for someone who didn’t know what she would write for A to Z…excellent idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jrvincente says:

    I’m so sorry that things are such a struggle. 😦 I wish there were something I could do to help. Invisible illnesses are so frustrating and unfair. *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wondered how you were doing. Know that I think about you often, especially with all the craziness in the world. Wow, that doesn’t sound right but you know what I mean! I worry and hope you are all safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Meg says:

    You have done a beautiful job of expressing yourself. You are a very talented and wonderful writer with deep feelings [even if they are dark]. I wish your pain could magically disappear but I have no bright ideas in that respect. And you demonstrate bravery on a daily basis for carrying on. Those ‘little things’ are relative to the individual, so don’t dismiss your accomplishments. And I’ll just add: don’t give up hope. Time and circumstances may change and with those changes you may find a better place. In the meantime, I send all my love and best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. ♥ I think I am just so tired of it all. I want my family to understand that I’m not just ‘in a bad mood’ and I think they do to an extent, but not much. Then I wonder if reading this would make a difference. For quite a while now, it seems like they sort of go silent whenever I say anything about any of this. I’m sure it’s because they don’t know how to deal with it, but to me, it just feels like they’re ignoring me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Meg says:

        Yes, they probably don’t know what to do. But I’m sure just a little understanding would go a long way to helping you cope. I’m sorry things are like this for you…

        Liked by 1 person

        • I still don’t know that I’ll ever share this letter with my family. I can’t decide. I think maybe I’m afraid of the conversation that may follow. Sending a letter is far easier than having a conversation…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Meg says:

            Maybe you could send it with the request that they write letters of their own. Sometimes conversations don’t go the places you want them too. But a letter takes time, you have to consider your thoughts before sending them. It might make for a better dialogue. I know for example, that whenever I try to ‘talk’ to my mother about how *I* feel, she turns the whole conversation around to be about *her* and my feelings get completely ignored. I’ve never tried writing her a letter but you’ve got me thinking… A letter would make her at least ‘listen’ to what I have to say.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I like this idea… asking them to write back rather than talk. I’ll have to think about it. When I first wrote this, it poured out of me and I had every intention of sending it. But as I thought more about it, I changed my mind back and forth.

              And I’m quite familiar with people who turn conversations around to make them about themselves! I think you writing your mom a letter might be a good idea.

              Liked by 1 person

  10. Maybe you should? 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    • Send it to my family? I really don’t know that I ever will. There is probably no point. They tend to go silent whenever I mention anything like this in front of them. I think they don’t know how to deal with it so they say nothing. I understand that, but I also know that they have no idea what it’s really like for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not send it, but have a sit down with them all…whenever the fuck that’s allowed again. A clear the air session is sometimes a good thing. Maybe? 😏

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh my god… in-person would be so much harder for me. That’s the whole reason I wrote it all down in the first place. (I didn’t mention this in my post, but I wrote this letter to my family a few weeks ago… before I knew I was going to do the challenge this year.) I want them to know how it really is for me… but sometimes I wonder if there’s any point.


  11. If I were in your family I would want to read this. I feel like I understand you so well after getting to know you and you telling me what you go through daily. I love you unconditionally and I try to put myself in your shoes and when I do, I get it. No, I will never know your pain but if it can shed any light on what you’re dealing with, they should read it. But that’s just my opinion (you didn’t ask for it but there it is). I’m proud of you for writing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I value your opinion. You know that.

      I am torn about this. I don’t know if sending it to my family would accomplish anything. Anytime I get remotely serious about how I feel, they seem to sort of shut it down… change the subject. I’m sure it’s because they don’t know how to deal with it. I understand that. But I also feel like I’m being fake with them a lot of the time because I don’t feel like I can say how I really feel. I also don’t want to make them think they have to be guarded with what they talk about with me. I don’t want that. I think that’s a relationship killer… having to be guarded with someone. But you already know I feel this way!


  12. Ogden Fahey says:

    I been through some bad patches in my life but luckily I’m too thick to realise how or why or anything really, I just got through somehow. I wouldn’t want to be back there again, but I know it’s there still waiting for me if my luck runs out. I think maybe you have to believe you’re lucky, or that you “got this” Sometimes I think someone up there is steering me, you have to find some belief to cling too, or else you’re just going to struggle. Xx


  13. Pingback: letters | i/introverts #atozchallenge | what sandra thinks

  14. Pingback: letters | i/introverts #atozchallenge | what sandra thinks

  15. Hello Sandra,
    I definitely won’t ask you “how are you” or tell you that “I hope you are doing fine” because those things really sound irritating when you’re going through something so difficult. I get what you are saying totally…………………………….
    Sending lots of love for you and hoping that someday, maybe someday, you will be able to get better and your life will get better… You may not even see the point of existing and I totally understand you.. Just remember that you aren’t alone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes words from a stranger have a significant impact. That’s how I felt when I read your comment. I’ve been in a perpetual state of stress and sadness for so long that I don’t even remember not feeling like this. It comes with a dose of hopelessness, too. I’m not sure how to shake it… not sure I ever will.
      Thank you for what you said. Sometimes it feels like no one cares…

      Liked by 1 person

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